Jetpack is an extremely popular plugin and one that is frequently discussed amongst WordPress users. But what exactly is Jetpack and why should you be using it in 2016?
Oli wrote a post about Jetpack in 2011 already on WPLift. A nice read to see the differences in Jetpack in 5 years.
Jetpack is a suite of plugins available from the WordPress.com team. The plugins, or modules, help you add many of the best features that are available to WordPress.com users, to your self-hosted WordPress website.
However, with Jetpack offering 37 modules and adding more all the time it is hard to know what all the different modules are for and which ones you should to be using. In this article we are going to look at the best Jetpack modules in 2016 and learn how this free tool can help you improve your website.
How to Install Jetpack
Jetpack is available from the WordPress plugin repository. Extremely easy to install, simply go to your WordPress dashboard and under ‘Plugins’ select ‘Add New’.
Search for Jetpack and then click on ‘Install’.
Once installed select ‘Activate Plugin’.
Although the plugin is now installed and ready to go, you will need to create a free account with Jetpack first before you can start to enable the different modules available.
The Top 10 Jetpack Modules that You Should Be Using
Because Jetpack offers so many different modules it can be difficult to know where to start. We are going to cover the best ones, that will improve your site and help you get started as quickly as possible. After that you can browse the others at your leisure and activate them as and when needed.
To display the Jetpack modules and activate them find ‘Jetpack’ on your WordPress dashboard and select ‘Settings’,
Here you will find a list of all the modules, and by clicking on them individually you will find a brief summary of each and an option of activation.
Uptime monitoring is something you need to be doing. It lets you know when your site is offline, which can sometimes be much more often than you think. Downtime can have disastrous consequences for any website, including loss of visitors, sales and rankings in the search engines.
Monitor by Jetpack is an uptime monitor that emails you when your website goes down and again when it comes back online. If downtime is something your site suffers from regularly you should definitely consider changing your web hosting.
If your theme isn’t responsive, which it should be, then activating the module Mobile Theme is a must. A large percentage of website visitors are now using mobiles and tablets to access sites. This plugin will make your site user friendly for smartphones, improving your user’s experience.
Mobile Theme is optimized for small screens. It uses your theme’s background, header image and widgets for a custom look, unique to your site. So whatever the screen, your audience will be able to easily read your content, view photos and galleries and fully interact with your site.
Photon is a very helpful Jetpack module that enables your site to load faster. It does this by caching content from your posts to the fast WordPress.com severs. By loading the images from the WordPress.com content delivery network Photon reduces the pressure on your web host and can increase the speed of your site.
If you haven't signed up for a full featured content delivery network already then using Photon is an easy way to implement a basic CDN service for your site.
Site Stats offers basic metrics for your site. If you don’t need all the fancy features of Google Analytics or you just want a way to quickly access key statistics about your site, then this is a good module to use.
Analytics can be hard to understand so Site Stats displays the most popular metrics through a simple and clear interface. Available to view are stats like the number of site views each day, top posts and pages, and numbers of subscriptions and comments, amongst other things.
These stats can be viewed directly on your WordPress dashboard, saving you time and giving you a brief but important overview of how your site is doing. A more enhanced insight into how your site is performing over time is displayed if you login to your WordPress.com account, or follow the link from your WordPress dashboard.
Protect is a brute force attack prevention tool. There is no denying the importance of security for your website. Protect is a great way to help secure your site.
Cloud powered, Protect leverages millions of WordPress websites, enabling it to identify and block IP’s that are malicious. This is one of the many steps needed to keep your site safe and it is a module well worth activating.
Related Posts is aimed at trying to keep your visitors interested in your content and drive interactions on your site. The Related Posts module will automatically display a list of similar posts to the article a viewer is reading.
By showing users what other content you have available, and encouraging them to look at it, the amount of time they spend on your site and the number of pages they view can increase dramatically. This will help improve your relationship with your audience and thus help your site convert better against its goals, whether they are to gain to followers, generate leads or make sales.
Arguably one of the most important features of your website is your contact page. A key element of this is your contact form, enabling your prospective clients and customers to contact you directly.
The Contact Form module can provide you with a comprehensive contact form. It is easy to set up and can be customized to suit your sites needs. Feedback will be filtered through Akismet, if you use it, to prevent spam, and then an email will be sent straight to you.
If you want to create advanced forms for your WordPress website check out these contact form plugins.
A key way of getting your content shared on social media is to add social share buttons to your WordPress website. Sharing is an impressive and flexible Jetpack module that allows you to do just that.
Sharing enables you to add buttons to the bottom of your posts, and to other key areas of your website, encouraging your readers to share your content on their social networks. You can configure the settings to select the social platforms of your choice and how the buttons appear. Basic metrics are also provided to see how and where your posts are being shared.
Publicize is another important way of sharing your content on social media. Once set up, Publicize enables you to share your content directly on your own social media accounts. Activating this module will save you a lot of time as instead of you having to manually repost each new article on every social media platform, Publicize will do this for you automatically.
To set Publicize up select ‘Sharing’ under ‘Settings’ in your WordPress dashboard and then choose the social media networks you want to share your content on. Each social media site will need to be authorized before it will display and share your content.
If you want more support, settings and options for social sharing, then you might want to try out one or more of these social promotion plugins.
Spelling and Grammar
Last on this list but definitely not least is the Jetpack Spelling and Grammar module. No one wants to read articles littered with mistakes. Unless you have people to edit your work it can be difficult to publish work that is 100% accurate.
Spelling and Grammar provides a proofreading service that uses artificial intelligence to find errors and make suggestions for corrections and improvements. This module also has customization options to help the proofreader keep inline with your style of writing.
Listed above are just 10 of the Jetpack modules available. Although they are, in my opinion, 10 of the most important modules offered, your requirements will differ from mine. Once you have installed the plugin take the time to read through the modules. Then activate the ones that are most relevant to your site’s needs.
Do you use Jetpack? What modules have you activated and which ones would you recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments below...